Photo: Roadside Attractions
A couple of friends and I have privately wondered about the eyebrow-raising publicity juggernaut behind photojournalist Lynsey Addario's new book It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War. She's been all over the MM hyping the book. Deservedly, but still—photographers don't usually raise quite this much interest.
Well, the plot thickens: just on Monday, Warner Brothers secured the movie rights to the book (apparently in exclusive bidding), and Steven Spielberg is already slated to direct current "It-girl" Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role.
It will be the first time in 30 years that Spielberg has directed a female lead. The last time was Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple in 1985.
Lawrence is both a movie star, raking in the cheddar in pop fodder, and a serious actress, one who is by some reports exceptionally avid for dramatic roles worthy of her very considerable talents. If you haven't seen her yet in something that isn't slathered and greased in CGI, check out Debra Granik's Winter's Bone, a harrowing tale of a young (and female) orphan caught between the vicissitudes of the drug trade and the strict (and sexist) traditional Ozarks mountain backwoods culture. Winner of the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, and lastingly superb.
I'm eager to know more of the hidden story here—whose interest has been driving this, and when did it start? To my reading it's possible that the book was significantly ghostwritten (it's at least very well edited—you just don't write that well without practice), so the publicity behind the book and possibly even the book itself could have been driven by the interest of one or the other of these Hollywood bigs. And possibly from very early on. (Wish some real reporter would bird-dog this; smells like an interesting tale to me.)
Anyway, a big-budget photographer movie comin' someday to theaters near you, and that's good news.
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Featured Comments from:
Stan B.: "I've been wondering too. Seems she suddenly burst on every radio station and media outlet for a week there—same questions, same answers (almost verbatim, as if scripted). Good on her, but the whole affair did seem somewhat...odd. As for her story going Hollywood—definite mixed reaction. Hope I'm not the only one a tad leery about Spielberg reaching into his cinematic bag of tricks—I'm still smarting from his colorization gimmick in Schindler's list.
Mike adds: And Schindler's odd, sappy, retrospective outburst near the end, which you almost can't help but read as the character and actor being the mouthpiece of the director, and which catastrophically torpedoes the greatness of the film (it's still very good). Spielberg is the Norman Rockwell of movies, superbly skilled but with a core that essentially thrills and vibrates to the maudlin and the mawkish. It's almost guaranteed that his portrayal of Addario will be a) overcooked at least at points (a fault of all of Hollywood, though, so we can't lay that entirely at Spielberg's feet) and b) excruciatingly corny at one or more key junctures, infecting the toughness and naturalism of the story.
Stephen Scharf: "Don't forget about Jennifer Lawrence's performances in both Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. Both incredible, superb performances. I personally don't have an issue with Lawrence working in pop fodder; it likely provides her the financial independence for her to do more serious work. John Cusack took the same approach so he could work in films like High Fidelity and The Thin Red Line."